Open Call 2023

Socare Award

Since 2019, Socare e.V. has offered a biannual prize for dissertations in the field of Caribbean studies in the social sciences, humanities or cultural studies. The aim is to promote early-career researchers. In particular, innovative as well as inter- and transdisciplinary research approaches are to be honoured and thus presented to a wider academic and general public. Entries may be in German, English, Spanish or French.

Application requirements are a strong Caribbean focus of the work, and a viva completed within the last 24 months before 1 October of the application year. Both personal and external applications are possible. Membership of Socare e.V. is not a prerequisite for participation. The closing date for applications is 1 October of each odd-numbered year.

Documents should be submitted in electronic form (PDF format) with the application. Please send the following to Dissertation, tabular resume, summary of the dissertation, two dissertation reviews.

The review procedure has two stages. Recognised experts in the respective subject areas will evaluate the entries, followed by the final selection of the award-winning work by the Executive Board. The evaluation will be carried out by two experts who will be appointed from among the Socare e.V. advisory board and the honorary members, if possible. The Executive Board will make its decision based on the expert opinions. In the case of a potential conflict of interest on the part of the members of the Executive or the Advisory Board (following the guidelines of the German Research Foundation) those members will be excluded from the review procedure and replaced by other members of the advisory board. The association reserves the right to suspend the award for substantial reasons.

The Socare Award comes with a prize money of 1.000 Euros and one year’s free membership in Socare e.V.

The Socare Award and the winning entry will be presented at the following Socare e.V. Conference.

Applications and queries should be sent to:


2022: The second Socare Dissertation Award goes to linguist Dr. Jessica Barzen

The Socare Executive Board congratulates Dr. Jessica Barzen on receiving the 2021/22 Socare Dissertation Award for her work Das Samaná-Kreyòl in der Dominikanischen Republik. Eine korpusbasierte Studie zum Sprachkontakt zwischen einer Migrationsvarietät des Haiti-Kreols und dem Spanischen (The Samaná-Kreyòl in the Dominican Republic. A corpus-based study of language contact between a migratory variety of Haitian Creole and Spanish). The work was selected by an external committee that included experts from a variety of disciplines.

In her work, Ms. Barzen documents the triglossic situation on the Samaná Peninsula in the Dominican Republic, where, in addition to Spanish, the so-called Samaná English is also present, as well as a diasporic or migratory variety of Haitian Creole. The latter arrived on the peninsula at the end of the 18th century in the course of refugee movements triggered by the Haitian Revolution. Today, this variety is spoken by only a few people. In the course of several field visits, the laureate has compiled the first corpus of Samaná-Kreyòl to this day. On this basis, she describes central characteristics of this language and interprets it from the perspective of language contact, language death, and historical developments of the Haitian creole, as well as with regard to the integration of linguistic practices into social contexts and ideologies. In this way, she makes a valuable contribution to a better understanding of the interrelationships between mobilities, linguistic diversity, and – given the historical and current marginalization of Haitian immigration in the Dominican Republic – social inequality in the Caribbean region.

Dr. Jessica Barzen studied Romance Studies (French and Spanish) at the Universities of Trier and Oviedo, and completed her studies with a “Staatsexamen” and a master’s degree. She then worked as a research assistant in the DFG junior research group Hispania submersa at JGU Mainz as well as FAU Erlangen-Nuremberg, where she completed her PhD in 2021. During her PhD, various teaching and research stays took her to the USA, Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Since 2020, she has been an academic assistant in the Department of Romance Languages and Media Studies at the University of Mannheim. Her dissertation is published by Buske-Verlag in the Creole Library:

The Socare Dissertation Prize is awarded every two years to outstanding dissertations in the field of Caribbean Studies. The submission deadline for the next round of selection is October 1, 2023. The prize comes with one year of membership in Socare e.V., free of charge and a prize money of €1000.

(Photo: Private)

2020: The first Socare Dissertation Award goes to Romance Studies Scholar Dr. Paola Ravasio

The Socare Executive Board congratulates Dr. Paola Ravasio on her dissertation Black Costa Rica. Pluricentrical Belonging in Afra-Costa Rican Poetry (2018, University of Würzburg), for which she won the Socare Dissertation Award 2019/2020. The work clearly stood out in the review process effectuated by an external expert committee.

Ms. Ravasio’s research, as highlighted by the expert reviewers, stands out for its triple innovation: It frames Costa Rica as part of the Black Atlantic, takes a look at Black culture in a country that defines itself as white, and adds three Afro-Caribbean women authors to the Costa Rican literary canon: Eulalia Bernard, Shirley Campbell, and Dlia McDonald. Moreover, in the spirit of Black Atlantic Studies, it takes up the pluricentric identity construction of afra-Costa Rican poetry and thus focuses on Afro-Central American identity discourses.

We are happy to say that, with Black Costa Rica, the first Socare Dissertation Prize honors a theoretically adept and historically sensitive piece of research that sheds light on the contact zones between Central America and the Caribbean, which have been little researched to date.

Before earning her doctorate in Romance Studies at Julius Maximilian University Würzburg, Paola Ravasio (b. 1982, Costa Rica) studied Classical Philology and European Literature and Cultural Studies in San José, Bologna, Strasbourg, and Thessaloniki. After receiving her doctorate, she was a research assistant in the BMBF project “The Americas as an Interweaving Space” at the Center for Inter-American Studies at Bielefeld University, where she continued her research on the literature of the Central American Caribbean, among other topics. She is currently working on a new project on multilingualism in Afro-Central America. Her monograph Black Costa Rica: Pluricentrical Belonging in Afra-Costa Rican Poetry has just been published by Würzburg University Press:;

The Socare Dissertation Prize is awarded every two years to outstanding dissertations in the field of Caribbean studies. Deadline for submission for the next round of selection is October 1, 2021. The prize comes with one year of membership in Socare e.V., free of charge, as well as prize money of €1000.

(Photo: Private)